The Open Notebook/Burroughs Wellcome Fund Early-Career Fellowship 2023 (Stipend of $5,500)

Deadline: October 31, 2022

Applications for The Open Notebook/Burroughs Wellcome Fund Early-Career Fellowship 2023 are now open. Every year, The Open Notebook offers a paid, part-time fellowship programme for early-career science journalists.

During the course of this fellowship, fellows work with a mentor to plan, report, and write articles for publication at The Open Notebook and become part of the TON editorial team. This ten-month programme offers fellows the opportunity to explore their career interests and passions and to sharpen their skills as part of a talented, supportive, diverse community of past and present fellows and mentors. This fellowship is made possible through the generous support of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, which has supported this programme since 2012.


  • Each fellow will receive a stipend of $5,500.


Open to early-career science journalists with less than two years of regular professional science writing experience. Note the following details:

  • Internships and student work do not count toward this requirement.
  • Exceptions to this requirement may be made for cases in which an applicant has more than two years of professional science writing experience but some or all of that experience is not in English.
  • Graduate students in the sciences who are interested in science journalism are eligible. However, please note that some training and/or experience in writing for the general public is a requirement for this fellowship.
  • International applicants are welcome. However, applications, including writing samples and letters of recommendation, must be in English. Materials translated into English from another language are acceptable.

Selection Criteria

Priority will be given to applicants who demonstrate:

  • A strong intention to work primarily as a professional science journalist. (Note: This fellowship is intended for people whose main goal is to do journalism, as opposed to other forms of science communication.)
  • Some training and/or experience writing about science for the general public (it does not have to be extensive)
  • Some understanding of the science journalism profession, the challenges science journalists commonly face, and the ways in which you would like to grow as a science journalist
  • Familiarity with The Open Notebook and the types of topics they tend to cover
  • An ability to generate good story ideas suitable for The Open Notebook
  • Strong writing ability
    • If English is not your first language, they do take this into consideration and do not expect flawless writing. However, for a successful experience in this fellowship you must have a fairly high level of proficiency in English.


The application form for this fellowship includes the following:

  • Responses to the following questions:
    • What prior training and/or experiences have you had in writing stories about science for the general public? (Maximum 150 words)
    • What skills, interests, or particular perspectives would you bring to this fellowship? (Maximum 150 words)
    • What do you hope to learn from the fellowship experience? (Maximum 150 words)
    • What are your overall plans for during the fellowship period (for example, will you simultaneously be finishing a dissertation? Freelancing? Seeking full-time employee somewhere? Doing something else?) (Maximum 75 words)
    • Optional: Is there any other information about your experience, interests, or background that you would like us to know? (Maximum 150 words)
  • Short proposals for two TON features or multimedia stories that you think would be suitable for publication at The Open Notebook. These can take the form of behind-the-story writer interviews; reported features on some element of the craft of science writing; roundtable discussions; or some other creative, feature-length project centered on the craft of science writing. (Maximum 200 words each. These are not full-scale pitches.)
  • A resume or CV
  • One letter of reference. This can be from a professor, editor, mentor, supervisor, or other colleague—whoever you think can best speak to your skills and qualities as they relate to science journalism and to this fellowship experience.
  • Up to two writing or multimedia samples of work aimed at the general public (not scientific/academic writing). If you are sharing audio or multimedia clips, you can simply put the URLs for the work into a PDF to upload in this section. (Samples must be in English. Translated materials are acceptable.)
  • Optional: Additional information about you. They strongly encourage writers from all types of backgrounds to apply. If you are a member of any group or community that has historically been marginalized or underrepresented in U.S. journalism, they invite you to let them know by responding to the demographic questions in this section of the application. This is entirely optional, and any information you disclose will be kept confidential.

Applications for the 2023 fellowship period are now open. The application deadline is October 31, 2022 (11:59 p.m. U.S. Central Time). Selections will be announced in December.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit TON/BWF Early-Career Fellowship.

By Bello

Ismail Bello is a content creator and enthusiast who is passionate about youth development.